Sight of Death
Why do we find ourselves returning to certain pictures time and again? What is it we are looking for? How does our understanding of an image change over time? In his latest book T. J. Clark addresses these questions - and many more - in ways that steer art writing into new territory. In early 2000 two extraordinary paintings by Poussin hung in the Getty Museum in a single room, "Landscape with a Man Killed by a Snake" (National Gallery, London) and the Getty's own "Landscape with a Calm". Clark found himself returning to the gallery to look at these paintings morning after morning, and almost involuntarily he began to record his shifting responses in a notebook. The result is a riveting analysis of the two landscapes and their different views of life and death, but more, a chronicle of an investigation into the very nature of visual complexity, the capacity of certain images to sustain repeated attention, and how pictures respond to, but also resist, their viewers' deepest wishes. Clark's meditations - sometimes directly personal, sometimes speaking to the wider politics of our present image-world - track the experience of viewing art through all its real-life twists and turns.
- Hardback | 192 pages
- 161.54 x 218.95 x 25.4mm | 839g
- 01 Sep 2006
- Yale University Press
- New Haven, CT, United States
- 17 b/w + 33 color illus.
About T. J. Clark
T. J. Clark is George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair at the University of California, Berkeley and author of several books including the highly influential volume, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers.
Our customer reviews
TJ Clark was once a member of Guy Debord's infamous <em>Situationist International</em> (SI). In December 1967, Clark and the rest of the British section (Christopher Gray and Donald Nicholson-Smith) were excluded from the SI in one of Debord's not infrequent, and fairly inexplicable, purges. Despite this, Clark continues to write art history that is inspired by his Situationist past. His most recent "political" intervention has been with RETORT, as part of which he co-wrote the challenging <a href="http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/showbook.php?id=1844670317">Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War</a>. His most recent "art" title is the compelling <a href="http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/showbook.php?id=0300117264">The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing</a>. In 2000, two paintings by Poussin from the 1640s (<em>Landscape with a Man Killed by a Snake</em> and <em>Landscape with a Calm</em>) were hung in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles in a single room. Clark, long a huge admirer of Poussin, returned to the gallery, initially daily and then less frequently, over a period of more than a year. His book records, in both poetry and prose, his constantly shifting responses to these ambiguous paintings, analysising the new aspects both the landscapes revealed over time, under Clark's astonishingly close scutiny. The result is a brilliant meditation on the richness and visual complexity of these works, in the form of a daily journal, and one of the finest and most unusual art books you will ever come across.show moreby Mark Thwaite